The Fifthteenth Annual Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectual Design Excellence 2013
Berkeley Prize 2013

Ben Wokorach Travel Fellowship Report

Before I was chosen as a Berkeley prize travel fellow this year under the theme “The Architect and The Accessible City”, I proposed to travel to London to participate in campaigning architecture, a design-research workshop organized by Architectural Association and University of Illinois Chicago Schools of Architecture, a 15 days’ workshop scheduled for 21st June to 5th July 2013. 

Thursday 20th was the day I took my flight at midday; I was filled with enthusiasm yet scared at the same time. It had rained the whole night before and early morning the whole Entebbe town was covered by mists, even the airport. I was very early at the airport, three hours before the flight, escorted by my mum and my youngest sister Monica. It was quite easy for us to find our way around, yet our first time. For the last six month I had been doing a lot of research and reading about accessibility.   It became part of me to react automatically in any physical environment, figuring out how to get from one point to another, passing silent judgment on the designs while offering virtual solutions hoping to make them better.

I arrived in London at 11:00am in the morning the next day after a change over at Dubai international airport. The workshop start was at 2:00pm and I had 3 hours to get ready. There were several options to reach my hostel about 30km away from the airport; options like the rail tube, the train, London buses and the black cabs equipped with GPS inside to navigate around the city. Since it was my first time and I didn’t know the direct route to the hostel, I choose the black cab though it’s the most expensive means of transport in London. 

Starting the workshop was rather more fun than what I expected, all 23 participants Met in Rembrandt Gardens (Warwick Ave & Blomfield Rd, Little Venice, W9 2PF) and later we went for a Canal Boat Cruise (Little Venice to Camden Lock). Little Venice, Camden Locks and King’s Cross is a social hub, a place where time seems to slow down with great feeling of freedom away from the London busy streets; open skies, fresh air and greenery accessible to all except at certain point like Little Venice to Camden which is inaccessible by wheelchair due to steep ramps and steps. For a moment I thought about the rich green spaces in my city that remains guarded all day by police to keep people away from using it, it’s a government strategy to limit peoples gathering due to public riots that happened two years ago.

After the boat cruise we took a walk through Camden Lock Market / the Stables Market. The Camden markets are a number of adjoining large retail markets in Camden Town near the Hampstead road by the Regent's Canal . It’s one of the busiest and most popular places in London attracting over 100,000 people including visitors each weekend. Among products sold on the stalls are crafts, clothing, bric-a-brac, and fast food.

King's place was our destination for the day so after the Lock Market we walked along the Grand Union Towpath to King’s Place along the scenic Grand Union Canal, past Brentford Lock and through the picturesque landscape of Syon Park, taking in historical structures, rolling fields and waterside wildlife. King's Place is a hub for music, art, dialogue and food, housed in an award-winning building in King's Cross, which provides world class conferencing, events and office spaces. It’s one of London’s leading contemporary cultural landmarks.

From left to right; picture of a physical model of the master plan showing redistribution of economic activities shown by the orange. The map showing possible remapping of the town routes for cyclist and pedestrian. Proposed connectivity of the canal considering its profile and how the unique structure could arouse curiosity (basis of the campaign)


Sunday and Monday were a free time to reflect on the tours within the city.  Saturday was still a tour day, Olympic walk tour which started from Bromley-by-Bow underground station (District/Hammersmith and City lines) a station on the Blackwall Tunnel  in the Bromley-by-Bow neighborhood east London. The station has four platforms, of which only two are in use and it is served by the District, Hammersmith and City lines. The tour ended at Westfield Stratford City where we had lunch break then continued along the Hertford Union Canal to Broadway Market. Through these several tours, we got a basic understanding  of East London:  Its interesting architectural features, bit of its history, accessibility and the socio-economic aspects that influences activities, circulation around and within it.

Workshop Session One

Tuesday morning we had a tour around the AA campus. Later after lunch, Introduction to the basic Structure of the Workshop was made by the workshop director, coordinator and short lectures by workshop instructors. “This short introduction will be followed by a series of rampant idea generation discussions, which will be critiqued and edited to shape a formal proposal. The proposal will then be developed for the rest of the workshop, with participants when necessary splitting into smaller subgroups to develop different aspects of the project,” said Kirk Wooler, the workshop director. AA library was made accessible for us, as well as other reading resources including internet and websites references like;,,,,,,,,,

Workshop Session Two

A Fatigue part of East London including the places we have been taking tour around and within was introduced in the next session as the site for the battle field. The session was subjected to open discussion and brainstorming on the possibilities of campaigning and ways to approach it basing on the literatures we read and the site visit we made. Before the workshop we were given list of literature below to read; 

  •  Public Space as a Battlefield, in Aurora Ferándes Per & Javier Mozas (eds.), Strategies and Tactics in Public Space, A+T 38 (Autumn 2011), pp. 6–19
  •  Olympic State of Exemption, in Isaac Marrero-Guillamón and Hilary Powell, The Art of Dissent: Adventures in London’s Olympic State (Marshgate Press: London, 2012), pp. 20–9 London 2012 Post Games Sustainability Report, available at

Reading the above gave us possible ways, tactics and examples of imaginative and practical responses to urban challenges, which were mostly done by common people. 

Campaigning a Hedonistic Reactivation

The major point of the discussion was towards reactivating the fatigue site by coming up with proposals that will either redistribute the social-economic activities or create spaces and places within the fatigue site that will connect and reconnect with the vibrant interesting parts of the site (the market , Little Venice canal, king place).  The campaign will then be a new mode of urban intervention for a hedonistic reactivation of the fatigued site. At this point we were to think of proposals that will combine the potential of design intelligence with the strategic power of propaganda in order to campaign and come up with changes to the urban site that will help to change the air quality and provide a collective voice for the London cyclists. The whole group aimed at investigating ways to reactivate the fatigue East London site, by first understanding the nature of the place, its role and the process of its formation within the city life. This required a more detailed study of the site, like: vegetations and water, human settlement and distribution, cultural-social and economic activities, pedestrian and vehicular circulations and many other aspects of the site.

Workshop session three

In the next session after a review with the instructors we were split into two different groups:

The first group of which I was part had to do a detailed analysis of the whole site then come up with a master plan proposal remapping the town paths, redistributing activities while utilizing vegetation and water to change the air quality of the place.  A master plan to reactive the site yet simple enough to be accepted by the public and adapted by the planning authority of east London. This in my view was away to get support from the public as a tactic of effective campaigning to change the air quality to comply with the world health organization standards.

The second group was to focus on the possible ways to revitalize the water way of the east London considering the major users, such as the pedestrian and the cyclist. The canal being one of the potentials of the site, the possibility to reactive the whole site was based on re-planning and designing the canal circulation to be adequate for the London cyclist and pedestrians and later using propaganda to let it be effective. The proposal to be made was not only to see the canal as a water site but a space that can house reactivating spaces and places. The best case study was the king place where the canal is used as a visual element, recreation, transportation and at the same time offering freedom to pedestrians and cyclists.

From left to right; picture of a physical model of the master plan showing redistribution of economic activities shown by the orange. The map showing possible remapping of the town routes for cyclist and pedestrian. Proposed connectivity of the canal considering its profile and how the unique structure could arouse curiosity (basis of the campaign)


Workshop/Studio sessions/Reviews 


The last week had us focus on interventions in our different groups and building up a better understanding of the different subjects while developing the proposal using physical models and computer programs like AutoCAD, Photoshop and rhino.

The studio sessions which took several days was wholly engulfed in development and reviews where the instructors and invited mentors would attend then later advice or shape the ideas accordingly. In the reviews several references were made by the mentors; for example, the Two Tings Campaign

The Two Tings campaign is part of an ongoing London-wide British Waterways programme to make towpaths safer, more attractive and accessible to the thousands of people who use them every day. The Two Tings campaign encourages users to think of each other as they travel along the towpath and reminds cyclists and pedestrians about the towpath Code of Conduct. Two Tings towpath events take place on the towpath during busy periods such as the morning and evening rush hours. They are led by Towpath Rangers who set up information points offering Two Tings leaflets, bicycle bells, free light refreshments and a chance for towpath users to ask questions and discuss any concerns they may have.

From left to right; a review on group one project, discussion and moments of fun at the hostel, presentation of group two project mapping out crucial points on the site and their possible connectivity.


Final review

The final day was quite interesting the fact that it was a rough road to come to the final day. With all of us coming from different cultural and academic background, it was a little hard at the beginning to work together. Most people wanted to own ideas and most times during review, ‘I thought of …, I came up with….’ were very common statements. Arguments and defending ideas was the order of the day until at some point when we had to hold back and redefined our purpose and the main essence of the workshop to us and the people whose urban environment we are trying to make a better place. We develop the heart and spirit to work together to change the urban environment and that became the mild stone towards our achievement in the group. 

The final review had us showcase our collective works. The works of the two different groups included a developed master plan redistributing economic and social activities while reducing parking and encouraging more pedestrian and cyclist circulation with improvised green campaign. The same map had a remapping on the various protest townpath routes in the east London for possibility of campaign. An imagination of a new way how the canal and paths could be maximize considering the pedestrians and cyclist priority. We never finished the project to a concrete proposal that could be adapted by any other urban environment as we thought it would be at the beginning but I learnt a lot and most of all the confidence I have developed to work with different kind of people and being bold to initiate thought provoking changes. 

Meeting new friends from different academic and cultural background was one of the amazing things that happened at the workshop. I owe all these to the BERKELEY PRIZE and I hope sometime the number of Travel Fellows selected every year will exceed ten. To me the trip it was more valuable than 4500 USD which is given as first prize, the experience and knowledge acquired through this is priceless. 

From left to right; picture of a physical model of the master plan showing redistribution of economic activities shown by the orange. The map showing possible remapping of the town routes for cyclist and pedestrian. Proposed connectivity of the canal considering its profile and how the unique structure could arouse curiosity (basis of the campaign)







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Like everyone else, this worker in Mexico needs transportation to his job. Public transport needs to be accessible for persons with mobility, sensory, and cognitive disabilities.
Persons with disabilities around the world are promoting transport systems that provide mobility for everyone. Mexican disability advocates are shown meeting with local transit officials to promote accessible transport. AEI has published guides to assist planners and advocates of inclusive transportation.
An accessible travel chain begins with safe streets and sidewalks. This street in Foshan, China, has separate rights-of-way for pedestrians, human-powered vehicles, and motor-powered vehicles.
Disability advisors at Rio de Janeiro’s Independent Living Center monitored access features for this street crossing, part of the Rio City Project.
Tactile guideways and tactile warning strips assist blind and sight-impaired pedestrians as well as others in Foshan, China.
Tactile warnings alert this blind person crossing a mid-street island in San Francisco, USA.
Busy intersections benefit from pedestrian controlled buttons and assist blind persons to cross through sound and vibration signals
Tactile warnings protect blind persons – and all other passengers – from getting too close to the platform edge in transit stations.
This footway adjacent to a road in Tanzania is protected by curb pieces which separate motor traffic from pedestrians and bicycles. Such basic safety measures are needed to prevent pedestrian injuries along roadways in many countries.
Even better, pedestrian and non-motorized traffic can be kept safely removed from motorized traffic by accessible sidewalks separated from the roadway, in this case by a well-designed drainage system along a main road in Tanzania. Speed bumps are used to slow traffic at crosswalks.
This pedestrian crosswalk provides level access to a bus island at an inter-modal transfer center in Mexico City.
Photo by T. Rickert, courtesy of DFID (UK) and TRL (UK).
Ticket vending machines should be low enough for use by wheelchair users and all short persons, as illustrated by the good design of this machine at a BART station in the San Francisco Bay area, USA.
Stairs are often retrofitted with stair lifts in transit terminals, as here in a Tokyo subway station. However, in new construction, elevators should be considered where possible.
A wheelchair user takes the elevator from the platform level of the Shenzhen, China, railroad station.
Wide doors are needed to accommodate wheelchair riders entering fare-paid areas of transit terminals, as in this subway station in Rio de Janeiro.
Everyone can safely board this BART train, due to a minimal horizontal and vertical gap.
However, care must be taken that horizontal gaps are not too wide. The orange “gap filler” pops up when the doors open in San Francisco’s Muni Metro, assuring a safe gap.
Small portable ramps can provide inexpensive access in many rail stations, as shown here in Tokyo.
All passengers, and especially deaf and hard-of-hearing passengers, benefit from well-located visual information, as with this route display on board a train to the Hong Kong airport.
Advocates Anjlee Agarwal (left) and Sanjeev Sachdeva board the accessible Delhi Metro on its inaugural run.
Photo courtesy of Sanjay Sakaria and Samarthya, from Amar Ujjala Indian Daily
Express buses in Curitiba, Brazil, exemplify universal design. All passengers, including those with disabilities, quickly board with level entry. Similar Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems operate in Quito, Ecuador; Bogota, Colombia, and a growing number of cities around the world.
Photo by Charles Wright, Inter-American Development Bank.
Construction of this Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) trunk line corridor in Pereira, Colombia, symbolizes the rapid spread of BRT systems around the world. BRT systems lend themselves to universal design, but details must be monitored carefully to maximize accessibility.
Although most BRT busways are on broad thoroughfares, this exclusive single-direction bus lane nearing completion in Pereira illustrates that BRT systems can sometimes be built on narrow streets.
This and above photo by T. Rickert courtesy of World Bank
The photo shows an articulated bus docking at a Bus Rapid Transit station in León, Mexico.
Pre-paid passengers inside a station board a high-capacity BRT bus in León.
This and above photo courtesy of Sistema Integrado de Transporte Masivo de León
A prototype low-floor bus is tested in New Delhi adjacent to a platform the same height as the bus floor.
A closeup of the same bus stop illustrates the advantages of fast boarding for all passengers from platforms that eliminate the need for climbing steps to board.
This and above photo courtesy of Gerhard Menckhoff of the World Bank.
This prototype lift-equipped bus serves Mamelodi Township in South Africa. Note the excellent use of contrasting colors.
Photo by T. Rickert, courtesy of DFID (UK) and TRL (UK).
Mexico City officials inaugurated service in 2001 with 50 new buses equipped with lifts and other access features.
Photo courtesy of Marìa Eugenia Antunez.
In addition to a wheelchair lift, this bus in Mexico City has a retractable step beneath the front entrance.
This low-floor bus in Warsaw, Poland, uses an inexpensive hinged ramp which provides easy boarding for passengers with disabilities.
A low-floor bus in Hong Kong also exhibits excellent color contrast, using a bright yellow on key edges and surfaces.
Transit systems around the world have reserved seating for seniors and passengers with disabilities, and often for pregnant women as well, as found on this TransMilenio bus in Bogotá, Colombia.
Even when bus stops are not accessible to wheelchair users, access for seniors and others with disabilities can be enhanced by a level all-weather pad even in the absence of paved sidewalks. The photo is from a TransMilenio feeder route in Bogotá.
This and above photo by T. Rickert courtesy of World Bank.
Thousands of Mexico City’s small inaccessible microbuses are being recycled and replaced with larger vehicles, often with better access features.
One such feature is this priority seating located behind the driver where there is extra leg room and it is easier for blind passengers to hear the driver call out key stops.
Photo by T. Rickert, courtesy of DFID (UK) and TRL (UK).
In other new buses in Mexico City, a wide rear door has low steps and is easily accessed by semi-ambulatory passengers from a raised sidewalk, but requires that drivers carefully pull in to the curb.
Photo by T. Rickert, courtesy of DFID (UK) and TRL (UK).
Community initiatives are playing a growing role in providing accessible door-to-door transport in many countries. This accessible van in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, belongs to the six-vehicle fleet of Persatuan Mobiliti.
Photo courtesy of Persatuan Mobiliti
Artist’s conception of a three-wheeled door-to-door vehicle connecting with an accessible ramped platform with bridge at a bus stop at a key site.
This prototype three-wheeled vehicle was built with AEI’s assistance by Kepha Motorbikes in Nairobi, Kenya.
Detail showing entry via a ramp at the rear of the test vehicle.
This and above photo courtesy of Wycliffe Kepha.
This accessible bicycle rickshaw in India has a rear door which serves as a ramp.
Photo courtesy of Bikash Bharati Welfare Society and Lalita Sen.
A public meeting in Cali, Colombia, discusses accessibility to Bus Rapid Transit systems. Readers can go to the Bus Rapid Transit Accessibility Guidelines in our Resources section, under the links to the World Bank.
Photo by T. Rickert, courtesy of the World Bank.
In this version, the bridge piece is mounted under the platform and put into place by the bus driver.
This and above photo courtesy of DFID (UK) and CSIR Transportek (South Africa).
This test in South Africa of a prototype platform for use at key sites shows an alternative approach to access for wheelchair users.
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